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A Popular Consumer Retailer Pays A Civil Penalty For Failure To Report Product Defect

Posted on May 10, 2013

Williams-Sonoma, a popular high-end consumer retailer, agreed to pay a penalty of $987,500 as a result of the charges made by the staff of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Source: CPSC

Recalled defective hammock stand | PA NJ Defective Recalled Product LawyerCPSC staff charged that Williams-Sonoma failed to report a defect in the Pottery Barn wooden hammock stands, which can deteriorate over time and break.  The deterioration was hidden from view and occurred inside the metal bracket.  Therefore, it was not obvious to the consumer that the stands were rotting and about to break.  As a result, consumers would fall when they sat on the hammock. Reports of consumer injuries include lacerations, neck and back pain, and fractured ribs.

According to the CPSC, though Williams-Sonoma announced a recall of 30,000 hammock stands in October, 2008, it was aware of the dangers of the rotting stands for a period of time prior to the recall.  It was aware of 45 incidents, including 12 reports of injuries requiring medical attention. 

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report product defects to CPSC within 24 hours of obtaining information supporting the product defect.  According to the charges made by CPSC staff, Williams-Sonoma did not report to CPSC pursuant to federal law and knowingly failed to report to CPSC.

The wooden hammock stands were sold between March 2003 and July 2008 and were sold exclusively through Pottery Barn, PBteen catalogs and websites, and Pottery Barn Outlet stores. 

In agreeing to the settlement, Williams-Sonoma neither admits nor denies CPSC staff’s allegations.

Help After Being Injured By A Recalled Defective Product

If you were injured by a recalled product, you may be entitled to compensation.  If the product was defective, you may have a products liability claim.  Products can be defective due to design or lack of proper consumer instructions and/or warnings.

If you believe you were injured by a defective product, contact the products liability lawyers at White and Williams LLP.  Daniel J. O'Brien has litigated numerous defective products cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Call today for a free, no obligation consultation. 877.944.8396 

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